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Keywords:

  • protein kinase C gamma (PRKCG);
  • spinocerebellar ataxia type 14 (SCA-14);
  • progressive myoclonic ataxia;
  • Ramsay Hunt;
  • dystonia;
  • myoclonus

Abstract

Progressive myoclonic ataxia, also referred to as Ramsay Hunt syndrome, is characterized by a combination of myoclonus and cerebellar ataxia, infrequently accompanied by tonic–clonic seizures. Its differential diagnosis overlaps with progressive myoclonic epilepsy, a syndrome with myoclonus, tonic–clonic seizures, progressive ataxia and dementia. In patients with progressive myoclonic epilepsy, specific diseases can frequently be recognized, but the diagnostic yield in progressive myoclonic ataxia is much lower. We describe a patient who presented with multifocal myoclonus in his thirties and who later developed cerebellar ataxia and focal dystonia. His father was similarly affected. Genetic studies revealed a mutation in the protein kinase C gamma (PRKCG) gene, known to cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 14 (SCA-14). This case illustrates that both myoclonus and dystonia are part of the clinical spectrum in SCA-14 and that myoclonus can even be the presenting symptom. We suggest that SCA-14 should be considered in the differential diagnosis of progressive myoclonic ataxia. © 2007 Movement Disorder Society